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The Tale of the Tree (Prologue + Chapter 1-2)

Prologue 

A young girl sits alone, perched on the steps of an ambulance. Ringing her hands, she looks at the destruction before her. Smoldering ash replaces what fond memories once stood. The house was a home away from home, for young Lily. This paradise was home to the most wonderful family, the Evansons. Tim Evanson was your typical hard working blue collar American dad, who would take his one and only child, Jack, on weekend fishing trips and other sightseeing adventures. Mike on the other hand was not as ordinary as his husband Tim, he ran the local bar, The Bear’s Beer, and had long luscious blond locks with a matching beard. Tim and Mike were the most kind and welcoming parents any kid could ask for, Jack was lucky, so very lucky. So lucky in fact, that he could not even see how fate was turned in his favor. That is until one devastating day.

They say it was an electrical malfunction that started the fire. Others say it was arson. But some, like Lily, are still in disbelief. She remembers bursting out of her front door, seeing the scorching blaze dancing behind the window panes. It’s flaming hands shredding the blue tapestry which covered the edges of the windows. The ruby red door was now swallowed up by the monstrous destruction, the tan shingles were pleading to be saved from the flames, but were soon engulfed as well.

All Lily could think about was Jack, her best friend. The only person to speak to her when she first transferred to Murfan’s Middle School. He talked her through the Do and Don’t of the school, like Do eat the green Jell-O, even though it looks funny, it tastes great and don’t look at Principal Edwards for too long, unless you want to turn to stone. Lily laughed at this rule, but Jack persisted and assured her by saying, “a few years ago, two boys stared into Edwards’s eyes for four and a half minutes and then they never returned to school again!”

Lily looks down at her red blistering hands, then at the beige blanket which encompassed her. Sirens blare in the background, announcing the travesty which has just occurred. Tim and Mike were gone, and Jack missing, but this was all heard from speculating neighbors who came to stare at the smoldering ash. Lily, too shocked to cry or to pry, did not ask questions, all she could think about was the three lovely men who opened their arms to her and loved her like she was one of their own. 

Chapter 1 – Return – Lily

“Beep! Beep! Beep!” My eyes shoot open, a potent bright light engulfs my vision. “Great” I growled, “first day back, what could go wrong.” Turning over to see the annoying clock manically laughing at my frustration. I reach over and press the snooze button, with probably too much force. But the noise does not stop, I turn over to see another laughing clock staring at me, confused I press this one’s snooze button as well. The noise still continues, “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!” getting louder and louder till nothing.

My eyes sprang open, I shot forward as if I was about the barf. Clenching my chest, I began to feel the sweat which covered my skin, I was soaked. Glancing over at my sky-blue side table, I see the hands on the clock mocking me once again, but this time it mocked my early awakening. The face of the clock showed that I still had two hours before I needed to get ready for my first day of college. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I notice a note placed on the foot of my bed. Stretching forward, I grabbed the mysterious letter and read “Sorry, got called in early, be home later.” Placing the note next to the annoying alarm clock, I braced myself for the cold rush of air that threatens to engulf me once I leave the warm safety of my bed. Throwing back the blanket, I began to stumble my way out of bed. Pushing my scarlet bedroom door open, I was surrounded in darkness. Patting my hand on the wall, in search of the light switch, I feel something. Something sticky? Yanking my hand away from the wall to examine the odd substance, it smelt earthy but almost sweet.

Rubbing my thumb and index finger together, the substance seemed to be somewhat elastic, but once it was at its breaking point it made an almost Velcro like noise. I turned towards the only light source, my room, to examine it further. The paste-like substance was a baby-blue color, with almost a chalk consistency. Paint.

“She’s at it again,” I moan. Remembering the tan wall from my childhood, now covered by this chalky blue color, a pit of heat formed in my stomach. I felt my blood begin to boil, I was furious. “Why do you have to do this every time?” Glaring at the walls’ fresh coat of paint, I began to search for the light switch again, gently hovering my hand above the wall, so as not to leave any more fingerprints on it.

Finding and flipping the switch, I was bombarded with baby-blue walls. Their almost pale sky blueness, mocked my every movement, as if to torment me with the fact of change. Change was not something I wasn’t used to. No. The colors of the walls change every few years, but I yearn for the tan beige color that once covered these walls. When life was simple, when it was easier, when I knew I would see Mike, Tim, and Jack again. But I am not ten anymore, life is not easy or simple anymore, and the three men I love most are dead. Sometimes I wish I was in that house too, the night of the fire. I was supposed to be, but Mother said I could not go, due to some stupid reason I can’t remember. If I was there maybe, I could have warned them, I could have saved them. If I couldn’t have saved them, I would die trying.

Trudging through the now vibrantly illuminated room, I walk towards the kitchen, passing under the arch way separating the two rooms, I see another note taped on the fridge. Walking over to get a better look at its message, I read “Milk, Sugar, Flour, Butter, Bread, PLZ!” with a heart following the last word. Rolling my eyes, I grab the note and toss it on the island. “When will she go get the groceries,” I murmured to myself, but perhaps I am being ungrateful, she did at least say please this time.

Pushing my newly dyed silver locks behind my ear, I begin to reach for the refrigerator handle. Then there was a knock on the front door. Startled by the sudden noise, I jump. “Who could that be,” I think walking towards the door. Sliding the flap on the peephole, I press my eye to the small window.

Chapter 2 – The Odd Encounter – Lily

 A tall man stood on the other side of the door, waiting. He was well built, but not muscular, he wore a black tee and dark blue, slightly faded, jeans, with black boots and a reflective pair of aviators. He shifted his weight from left to right, then back again. It looked as if he was anxious about something. I watched him for a few more seconds before I decided to leave him alone.

Spinning on my heels, I began walking under the archway to the kitchen, when he became irritated with his waiting and made several more attempts to get my attention through a repeating of three knocks. Glancing over my shoulder, I wondered if I had made the right choice to ignore him. Then a thought popped into my head, “isn’t that what the first victim in horror movies would do? Answer the door to a complete stranger! So best to ignore him then.”

Finally taking the hint, the knocking stopped. Followed by the starting of a motor, then the sound of rocks flying and hitting the house from him peeling out of the driveway. I move towards the window to get a better look at his car, but all that remains is a cloud of dust.

Returning to the kitchen, I reach for the fridge door again, but this time there was no interruptions once my hand was around the handle. Pulling the door open. I examine the remaining food in the fridge. I finally decide on an apple. Moving the juicy plump apple to my lips, I sink my teeth into it’s ruby red flesh. A cool sensation encompassed my teeth and the sweet cold juice runs down the corner of my lip. I go for another bite when I see something moving. “No…God, please, NO!” I scream to myself.

A worm wiggles its way out of my teeth’s indentations. Disgusted, the apple slips from my hand and falls to the floor below. I rush to the sink, spit out the piece of apple that was still in my mouth. This time I really was going to hurl.

Regaining my bearings, I turn to the infested fruit and gingerly pick it up. Tossing the apple into the trash, it hit the bottom of the bin with a THUD. Turning back to face the room, I see something out of the corner of my eye. A small creature that stands about four and a half feet tall, hiding on the other side of the island. This thing appeared to be giggling to itself. It has horns growing from each side of its forehead. It was standing on what looks like goat legs. No! Wait, those are its legs! As soon as the tiny devil knows it has been spotted, the soft giggling stops, its face turns pale. Then it bolts under the arch and turns left, straight for the front door.

Stunned by this strange encounter I did not at first chase after the intruder. Snapping out of my trance, I rush towards the door, but the being was nowhere to be seen, as if it disappeared into thin air. Breaking my train of thought I hear a noise.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! It was that insatiable alarm announcing that it was time to finally get ready for the day. Turning to head back to my room, I do a quick survey of the area to make sure there are no more uninvited guests.

The kitchen? No.

The bathroom? Nope.

The living room? Nada.

Mom’s room? ….who knows? But then again it would be nearly impossible to tell, due to the amount of stuff that covered her room.

Arriving back at my sanctuary, I slowly approach my red door, which I do not remember closing. Gingerly, out stretching my hand towards the knob. The Beeping continued. Each BEEP coincided with each of my heart beats. Turning the pale silver handle, I feel a cold chill go through my entire body.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, LGBTQ+, Young Adult (YA)

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